, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 5-24

Trade and the Transmission of Technology

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Abstract

This paper integrates earlier studies on the link of productivity and research and development (R&D) in different industries of a closed economy with the more recent emphasis on R&D-driven growth and international trade in open economies. In this framework, technology in the form of product designs is transmitted to other industries, both domestically as well as internationally, through trade in differentiated intermediate goods. I present empirical results based on a new industry-level data set that covers more than 65 percent of the world’s manufacturing output and most of the world’s R&D expenditures between 1970 and 1991. The analysis considers productivity effects from R&D in the domestic industry itself, from R&D in other domestic industries, as well as in the same and other foreign industries. I estimate strong productivity effects both from own R&D spending and R&D conducted elsewhere. The contribution of R&D in the industry itself is about 50 percent in this sample. Domestic R&D in other industries is the source of 30 percent of the productivity increases, and the remaining 20 percent are due to R&D expenditures in foreign industries.